WASHINGTON (CNN) – Between uncertainty about her appearance at a big fundraiser and a war of words with a late night TV talk show host, former Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was back dominating political headlines last week.
Did the media over do it with too much Palin coverage?
On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz asked three political reporters to weigh in on just that question.
The journalists largely agreed that the wall-to-wall coverage of Palin, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and last week’s annual Republican fundraiser was justified because of all the interest in Palin’s possible presidential aspirations.
"[T]his is one case where it's not the press’ creation," Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin told Kurtz. “A lot of Republican sources that all of us talked to were very unhappy with what Governor Palin did and the confusion in her political operation.”
“And it goes to a larger question,” continued Halperin, “is she doing what she needs to do now in order to be a plausible presidential candidate in 2012? Her relationship with the National Republican Party, confusion in her operation, a lack of confidence in her and those around her is what was at issue there; not gossip and not the rivalry with Newt Gingrich. And that's a legitimate issue and one the people covered.”
Air America’s Anna Marie Cox agreed.
“[I]t was not about Sarah versus Newt. It was more about Sarah versus sort of the apparatus of the GOP - and her relationship with them and the lack of professionalism in her operations,” Cox said Sunday.
The National Review’s Jim Geraghty had a different take, suggesting that the media’s dissatisfaction with the governor’s political staff was coloring the coverage Palin received about the GOP fundraising dinner last week.
“When a reporter doesn’t get a phone call returned, that grates on them,” Geraghty said to Kurtz. “And that may, in one form or another, get reflected in the coverage.”
The four journalists were uniformly critical of late night talk show host’s David Letterman’s recent off-color humor about Palin’s family.
(Updated at 12:00 p.m. ET with Palin response)
(CNN) – Late night comedian David Letterman, responding to criticism his recent joke about a member of Sarah Palin's family crossed the line, said on his show Wednesday night he is guilty of "poor taste."
But Letterman, who has been a critic of the Alaska governor, said the recent joke - that Palin's "daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez" at a recent Yankees game - was in reference to 18-year-old Bristol Palin, not 14-year-old Willow who actually attended the baseball game with her mother last week.
"We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter [Bristol]... and now they're upset with me," Letterman said. "These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl.
"Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."
iReport.com: Share your thoughts on Palin/Letterman flap
Letterman's comments come a day after the former Republican vice presidential candidate called the joke "inappropriate" and "sexually perverted."
(CNN) - Looks like they may be ready to bury the hatchet back at the Home Office.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain is slated to make an appearance on David Letterman's show Thursday - three weeks after he raised the ire of the generally mild-mannered host by canceling his scheduled appearance at the last minute, citing his decision to suspend his presidential campaign because of the financial crisis.
"This doesn't smell right," Letterman said then, during a routine that only half appeared to be a joke. "This is not the way a tested hero behaves. Somebody's putting something in his Metamucil."
Watch: Letterman skewers McCain
Letterman didn't appear to buy the Arizona senator's explanation for the cancellation, showing the audience a live feed of McCain preparing for an interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric. After praising McCain's record as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he said, "This is not the John McCain I know, by God."
"It makes me believe something is going haywire with the campaign," he said. "Something's gotten to him."